DirectStorage GPU-based decompression is coming, Microsoft says

Once GPU decompression is available, Microsoft's new DirectStorage API will reduce CPU overhead by over 40% on Windows 11.

@DeekeTweak
Published Fri, Mar 25 2022 12:27 PM CDT   |   Updated Thu, Apr 21 2022 5:04 AM CDT

Future builds of DirectStorage will help optimize CPU usage even more than it already does, and could significantly impact the performance and gameplay of new PC games.

DirectStorage GPU-based decompression is coming, Microsoft says 42 | TweakTown.com
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Microsoft's DirectStorage API empowers developers with new tools to supercharge IO throughput and workload efficiency. The current version of DirectStorage can reduce CPU overhead by up to 40% on systems running Windows 11 with 2.5GB/sec NVMe SSDs; the new IO file stacks included in Windows 11 work in tandem with DirectStorage's simultaneous decompression and asset loading to help free up the CPU for other work--like, say, environment destruction.

Those gains will only get better over time. Right now DirectStorage uses the CPU to decompress data, but future builds will directly feed compressed files into the GPU's VRAM for efficient, ultra-fast decompression and processing. This will free up the CPU even more, giving developers more flexibility to assign CPU cycles for specific tasks like physics and robust worldbuilding.

In a recent presentation, Microsoft engineer Cooper Partin confirms GPU decompression is on the horizon.

DirectStorage GPU-based decompression is coming, Microsoft says 52 | TweakTown.comDirectStorage GPU-based decompression is coming, Microsoft says 51 | TweakTown.com

The current (left) and future version (right) of DirectStorage.

"We're not going to stop there. We're going to continue to free up a lot more CPU cycles by finding more creative ways to offload decompression to other parts of the system. For example, the GPU."

"In a future release, you'll be able to use DirectStorage to decompress assets using the GPU. This is more CPU savings for you to do more additional work in your title."

There's no release date or timing window for the new feature. Microsoft just released DirectStorage to developers alongside PIX debugging support, and is encouraging more devs to start implementing the tools into their games.

"Stay tuned to our sites and our blogs and we'll give you more information when that comes out. Our run time is always looking a bit ahead of where we are today. If you do this, you're already set up to take advantage of these new changes and even more so when GPU decompression comes online. That integration into your title will go super smoothly."

For more information on DirectStorage, click here.

Essential DIrectStorage reading

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Derek joined the TweakTown team in 2015 and has since reviewed and played 1000s of hours of new games. Derek is absorbed with the intersection of technology and gaming, and is always looking forward to new advancements. With over six years in games journalism under his belt, Derek aims to further engage the gaming sector while taking a peek under the tech that powers it. He hopes to one day explore the stars in No Man's Sky with the magic of VR.

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